Posts Tagged ‘public transport’

An open letter to the Rich And Famous

To The Rich And Famous,

This letter has been prompted by Jessie J’s song, ‘Wild.’ I heard it at the Chime For Change concert for the first time and I thought, “You know what Jessie J? Shut up. Just shut up.”

And why, all you Rich And Famous, would I think this? Well, forgive me for overreacting in this post-recession climate, but if I’m going to scrape together the £10 or so that it costs to buy your album or single or whatever (and rest assured, I’m not, but if I was) and I know I’ve splurged a bit and there’s a little bit of residual guilt lingering in my mind about the fact that I should have paid that off my overdraft/credit card/loan and then I get home and I put it on and I sit back and I get ready to listen to you, Jessie J, and enjoy the music…. And then you go, “I just can’t believe that this is my life… It feels so crazy when you scream my name…”

Translation: You all love me and now I’ve got an amazing life.

O, you’re welcome Jessie. You’re very very welcome. It’s nice to know that you’re having a nice time from all the pennies I scraped together to get your album. I guess I’ll just go back to my menial task job again in a few hours and try and earn some more money so I can buy even more of your records and listen to you tell me about how fab everything is for you.

Isn’t it just wonderful to be you? Wonderful. Thanks for reminding me.

And you, Fergie. You’re not much better. Glamorous?! What was that about? What a fucking insult. You wear “them gold and diamond rings” but you still go to “Taco Bell.” What a comfort to me. I’m glad you reminded me of that. You know where I go? The kitchen. My own fucking kitchen. Because if I ate out every night I’d be broke.

Imagine that, Fergie! Being broke! O wait, you can’t. Cause you’re so fucking loaded… And real. We mustn’t forget that! O god, you’re so real “no matter how many records you sell.” Well, thank god for that.

And, you remind us, before you were “flyin’ first class,” you just had “a Mustang.” That must’ve been tough, Fergie. I can’t even imagine how you’ve suffered, just having a Mustang. You must’ve been so fucking poor.

Guess what I have, Fergie? My feet. My own two little feet. And when I need to go somewhere, I use them. I’ve also got this way flashy thing called an Oyster card. You put money on it and you can go on public transport. You should totes get one…. O wait, excuse me, of course not. Public transport! For a Glamorous first class flying lady like you. Pffft! What am I thinking!?

But yeh, totally real. I totally dig your realness, Fergie.

And you over in the corner there, J.Lo. You have not escaped my rage. This song has stuck with me for years, way before I had worked out that you were talking utter tripe. Because you, “Jenny,” you are still “from the block.” And in my sadness or my money worries or the trivialities of my comparatively mundane life, paying rent etc, I have always found strength from the fact that you, Jenny, you understand me. You understand my worries and concerns, a bit like Jesus really. Because you are like me, J.Lo, and you, like Fergie, are “real” and you have stayed “grounded as the amounts roll in.”

I’m sorry? The “amounts roll in”? So you’re loaded? Fuck off. Just be rich and stop going on about it.

I’m glad you’re loaded. I’m glad your shoes are worth more than I earn in a year. I’m glad you have a diamond encrusted mobile phone cover. That’s all fab and great. And I like to see pictures of beautiful people singing or acting well. That’s nice. It keeps me entertained. It gives me ideas for my next hairdo. I don’t need to know so much about your private life, to be honest. A bit of glamour and mystery is a good thing, I feel. But to show I like you’re acting/singing etc, I may part with money to experience it. Not often. But sometimes. Maybe.

But, for fuck’s sake, do me a favour and don’t sing at me about how fucking rich you are and how amazing your life is. And how my pennies spent on a record have helped you buy yourself a million billion pound mansion castle thing.

Just. Don’t.

I don’t need to hear that nonsense. Just sing your songs about love and make them sound nice. That’s all I’m asking of you.

And now, Rich And Famous, I shall leave you with a version of J.Lo’s big hit, adapted by my friend Cilla, when we were 17 years old.

“Don’t be fooled by the rocks I haven’t got,
I’m still, I’m still, Cilla from the block.
Used to have a little, still only have a little,
No matter where I go, I’m still where I came from,
Don’t be fooled by the rocks I haven’t got,
I’m still, I’m still Cilla from the block.”

Let that be food for thought, all you Rich And Famous.

Sincerely, Laura (from the block)

A letter to the world

Dear World,

How are you? What’s that? A bit messy and need some work doing? Ah. Ok. Yes. I did promise I’d help with that, didn’t I? And I did, World. I did. On Day 1, I donned my best dirty Crocs, grabbed a bag and walked around collecting rubbish. I then divided this rubbish into different recycling bins and even recycled the bag itself. On Day 2, I changed my energy supplier to a local renewable energy company. And World, I would like you to know that it was my close friend’s birthday and I sent him an electronic birthday card instead of a paper one, to save your trees.

You see, World, I had had an idea. I would do at least one good thing every day to look after you, to make life a little easier for you, to ensure your health for future generations. I was excited about looking after you. I guess it’s that maternal instinct in me. I like looking after people and things. I also like playing the SuperWoman role when I first get an idea in my head. I will do and be everyone’s hero. I will single handedly cure all of your ills. I will be the answer to every problem. It doesn’t take me long, World, before I realise that I am not capable of this. But I still think I can, every time a new idea comes along.

So Day 1 and 2 came and went, World. I had picked up litter and I had not sacrificed your trees for a birthday card. Then Day 3 came. Let me describe Day 3.

Wake up late. Meet a friend for lunch. Go a friend’s birthday party.

Day 4 looked like this. Wake up early. Work. Go for lunch with a friend. Have friends over for dinner.

Day 5 was as follows. Wake up. Go to work. All day. Come home. Eat. Watch The Tourist. Marvel at the twist at the end and wonder how much weight Johnny Depp had to put on for the film. Go to bed.

You see, World? I had resolved to do something good every day for you. And then life got in the way. But I did do small things for you, World. I turned off the tap when brushing my teeth instead of letting it run like I usually do. I used only public transport to go around seeing my many friends (I’ve got loads! Honest). For dinner, I had food that would have otherwise been thrown away. I didn’t fill the kettle with water to boil it. I only put in as much as I needed. So although Day 3, 4 and 5 rolled by in a haze of work and friends and hardly any sleep, I did a little for you, World. I did a little.

Day 6 is a new day though, World. Out will come the book of tips and out will come my lycra superhero outfit (otherwise known as my dirty purple Crocs). I will do better. There is always room for improvement, after all.

Actually, on that note, you could do with being sunnier in England, World. I’m not criticising. I’m just… You know…. I’m just saying…. You could work on that.

Thanks.

Yours sincerely,

Laura SuperWoman Maisey

Being friendlier

The day I finished my exams, I told myself (and all of you) that I was going to give ‘being friendlier’ a go. I did ‘getting excited about stuff’ and that was good fun. I did ‘being sporty’ and I still swim most days (people have started to comment on my arms in a complimentary way but I’m still worried they’re getting Madonna-ish).

So now it’s time to try being more friendly. Now I’m not unfriendly. I’m perfectly nice to people I like. But I don’t often go out of my way to be nice. You know when people have those stories about how they met their new best friend in the launderette? Or on the train or something?

That is never me. I am never saying those things. Firstly because I don’t ever go to a laundrette. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one in my entire life. I also try to avoid public transport by living my life within a distance that doesn’t require me to go on public transport. If I am on public transport, I put my earphones in and listen to a book. I don’t look around for people to chat to.

I usually think I’m kind of ok without new friends. My phone book has as many names in it as I need and, to be honest, I’m quite busy a lot of the time.

When I started law school, my excited classmates gathered in the hallway after tutorials, chatting enthusiastically and working out which pub was closest to get to.

“Yeh, that sounds great. Let’s go there. Come on guys! Is everyone coming? Yeh? Yeh, come on. Laura, are you coming?”

And me… Little old me… Little old antisocial me…. What did I say? Did I say “Sure, I’m there! I don’t have any plans. I’m definitely coming”?

Of course I didn’t. I said something along the lines of “I’m sure you’re all really nice but I’m here to get a degree not some new friends, so actually, I’m going to go home and get started on the stuff they told us to read for next week.” Paraphrased slightly, but essentially that.

I’ve always thought it’d sometimes be great fun to be the person who’s all carefree and lovely and nice to everyone. But most of the time, I don’t feel like being nice to people, especially when they’re swimming at me in the swimming pool or standing in my way in the shop.

But I am going to try. I am going to try to be friendlier, to not be annoyed by people who don’t stick to the unspoken rules of social etiquette, or who swim in my way, or who push in front of me in a queue, or pronounce something wrong, or appear to be unfriendly to me. I will be relaxed and smiley and friendly, regardless. I’m not sure how well this will go, or how long I will last before someone annoys me. I am going to try though. I am up at the crack of dawn today so by about mid afternoon, grumpiness will set in. That’s when it will be hardest to keep up the friendliness. Wish me luck. I’ll report back.

U is for…

image

UNINSPIRED!

I slept too long last night so am a bit lethargic. It’s raining outside. I forgot to bring the lovely swimsuit I bought especially for my holiday. And I haven’t baked in days. My brain is feeling a bit lazy on the creativity front. Let me try a few different U things and see if anything flows.

Under = my brother told me a joke when I was younger that went ‘What do you get if you go under a cow? A pat on the back.’ I knew it must be funny because my big brother had said it and he was way cool. So I told it too. And laughed loads. But I didn’t get it at all.

Umbrella – I’ve never owned one for more than a few days. Every public transport lost property department in England must have one of my umbrellas.

Ukraine – when I was about 19, I watched a Chinese film called House of Flying Daggers. I loved it. The scenery looked beautiful. There was one bit where they’re running through a bamboo forest which looked amazing. I booked myself onto a group trip to China to trek the Great Wall and couldn’t wait to run through a bamboo forest myself. A week or so before leaving for China I was reading a film review of House of Flying Daggers and it said that it was actually filmed in the Ukraine…..

Upside-down cake – I saw someone making one last night on Come Dine With Me. I’ve never made one. Maybe I will.

University – despite wanting to get exams done and out of the way, I do really enjoy the process of learning and being in education. I’m thinking of taking up a short course as soon as my law degree is finished, my second degree by the way. You can never have too many degrees, that’s what I think! What I’m going to actually do with them is a different question! For the moment I’m just going to gather them, like books on a shelf, and have a little look at them every so often.

Can I have a word – Part 2

Another contribution from the reader who gave us last week’s ‘Can I have a word?’

Here’s a quote from Alice Through The Looking Glass (1872):

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I want it to mean – neither more nor less’. I wasn’t going to use it but on reflection (see what I did there?) I think it’s quite appropriate. You’ll see why…

I was writing last time (Weds 28.3.12) about words, communication and authors using uncommon words. I’ve been thinking about how this could apply, imaginatively, to the overpopulated towns and cities in the world of words. In this world of words (from now on abbreviated to WOW) you still need to travel about so you can work to earn money & learn more. A good way to travel around WOW is by public transport – on what are called word-buses. The government in WOW want to improve people’s knowledge and introduced this innovative scheme: the bus driver will only let you on if you can give him the definition of the word on the front of the bus.

When I travelled into work the other day the first bus along was the “honey-bus” – a man at the front of the queue was saying good-bye to his girlfriend, Maggie, but as she went to get on the bus he pulled her back and said to me, “I can’t let Maggie go!” I looked at the advert for Nimble bread on the side of the bus and wondered if I’d seen her before – eating a sandwich strapped in a harness hanging under a hot air balloon flying across the countryside…

Next along was the “magic-bus” and Who was on that one? Not sure, but I could see Roger & Pete looking through the window; the next one was the “novel-bus” going to ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ but who the dickens would want to go there – David Copperfield maybe? But shouldn’t he have got on the bus before this one?; next up was the “sesquipedalian-bus” which was nearly empty so I got on that one. (See “Can I have a Word?” (part 1) if you don’t know what it means).

However I know what will happen – everyone will see that empty bus and learn what that word means so they can get on it next time; and then that bus will get full; and then people will start learning a new word so they can get on a less crowded bus. Perhaps it will work; perhaps the government’s plan will increase individuals’ vocabularies after all.

Standing at the bus stop one day, I met a man called Dick and he was able to get on any bus that came along. I was impressed. If I saw a word on a bus I didn’t know I just asked him. He explained it and I could then get on. For example along came the “Porphry-bus” and he got me on; the next day the “Psephology-bus” and he got me on that one.

After a while, he’d got me onto loads of buses with odd words on the front. I was amazed. I could control my curiosity no longer – “What’s your full name?” I asked. “Just Dick,” he replied quietly. “You have to tell me your surname”, I persisted. “Ok…. it’s Shunnery” he said walking away, dressed in his red and blue jacket with white lettering on. “You can look me up some time, if you want to find out more,” he said. Odd name I thought to myself – Dick Shunnery! I found out later that he works in a legal practice called The Chambers. That’s why people sometimes refer to him as “The Chambers” Dick Shunnery! Sounds quite authoritative, doesn’t it? (By the way the boss of that legal office is a man called Barry Sturr and he has an assistant who he always sticks up for – Laura Norder!).

So, if you want to make sure you can get on any word-bus that comes along, try and meet this guy, Dick, and make friends with him. He also told me the word ‘bus’ is actually short for omnibus which is Latin, meaning ‘for all’; now I know why it’s always crowded!

It’s great living in… WOW! And don’t forget, whether you like it or not, you live there too and you’ll have to use those word-buses. Will you learn some more words so you can get on more buses? You might not see me, though, because I’ll be on one of those with plenty of empty seats. I’ve been learning some more of those unusual words, from my friend Dick, you see.

Can I have a word? Yes, speak to Dick – he’s got loads. Oh, and thanks Humpty for the ‘word-bus’.